When you imagine a courtroom, you’ll typically have an image in your mind of the judge, the plaintiff, the witnesses and the jury, and you can close your eyes and see how all of the basics will proceed during the course of the trial. Something that you may not consider though, is how much the inner working of trial processes have changed due to advances in technology. With improvements in audio-visual processing and speed, and with new ways to connect devices, the way that data is presented has changed significantly. In other words, to fully comprehend legal proceedings, it’s not just important that you understand the law, but that you learn how new mediums have changed its presentation.
Helping Present Information
Consider how information used to be presented before computers. Physical drawings and photos needed to be ready. If there were audio recordings, playback was often an extremely clunky process. Now, audio-visual processes are instant, clear, connected, and can be shown on monitors in real-time or even on iPad or tablet screens. Designing legal presentations can be much more dynamic, organized, and searchable than in the past, which means that the entire process can be more focused than ever before.
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Witnesses are vital points of information for every side of a court case. If technology is present to help these witnesses give their information more clearly, than that’s a win-win situation. Many courtrooms now have plugs and connections for laptops so that witnesses have easy access to data that they need to look up as well. There are far fewer chances to run into ‘he said she said’ situations when primary sources are available that can include audio, video, or official sources of all kinds of different material that can help the witnesses testify to what they officially remember.
Helping The Jury
The jury can now search through information and presentation better than ever with the use of new, faster modern computer technology. They can have everything right in front of them projected as needed, so there is no more need to try to remember things as well as possible, when all of the facts are right in front of them, and aren’t going anywhere. In the past, it’s been possible to use psychology with juries who did not have this type of access, and many trials would have ended very differently if new technology had been available at that time.
There are differing opinions about whether new technology is good or bad for courtroom procedures, but common thought is that as long as the situation is approached logically, if technology is used in a way that help achieve justice to all parties involved, then that is the path that courtrooms should use.